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Essay Contest: "My BSU Moment"

"As northern Minnesota's university, we engage in new worlds of thought, embrace responsible citizenship, and educate for a future that can only be imagined." -- Bemidji State University mission statement

We invite all BSU undergraduate students to tell us about their personal connection to the BSU mission statement for the first annual "My BSU Moment" Essay Contest.

We want to hear about a defining or breakthrough moment in your life that somehow exemplifies the BSU mission statement. What specific experience showed you what it was like to engage in a new world of thinking at BSU? At what particular moment did you embrace your citizenship locally, nationally, or globally?  When did you take a concrete step (large or small) toward a future you had only imagined? Put simply, when have you had an "aha!" moment about your experiences at BSU?

Below are a few examples of the kinds of defining or breakthrough moments you might write about. They are just suggestions. If you had a moment here at BSU when you became excited about what you were learning--inside or outside the classroom--show us that moment in writing.

  • Describe a moment from your first year on campus when you realized your learning at BSU would help you become who you want to be in the future
  • Describe one afternoon of a Eurospring, Sinosummer or other study abroad program that showed you something about yourself and your world
  • Describe a moment during a BSU-related project--volunteering at the Food Shelf or working with Habitat for Humanity, for example--that inspired you to become a better person or to make the world a better place
  • Describe a moment in a classroom, lab or studio when what you were studying just "clicked" for you.
  • Describe a campaign you worked on or a movement you supported
  • Describe a time when a course project or assignment--of any kind--really changed your thinking
  • Describe something you created while at BSU that you wouldn't have been able to create in the past
  • Describe a moment from a job or internship that directly connected with something you learned at BSU
  • Describe a moment or an assignment in a course that challenged you and give details on what you learned through your struggle
  • Describe a performance or exhibition you gave (or attended) at or through BSU that inspired you or connected you to BSU and the wider world

We aren't looking for generalities, so be specific. We want to know about you and your life, so be yourself. Write for a public audience, but don't lose your "voice." Last, don't be afraid to stand out. Be creative in how you get the reader's attention.

Essays will be judged on narrative voice, relationship of essay to the mission statement, and standards of good writing


The writers of the winning essays will read their work in a special presentation at the spring Student Achievement day on April 7, 2010; they will also have their essays published on the BSU website. In addition, the first place winner will receive a Netbook computer, the second place winner will receive a $100 gift card, and four honorable mention winners will receive $25 gift cards.

Eligibility and guidelines

  • You must be enrolled full-time as an undergraduate at BSU during spring semester 2010, OR you must be enrolled as an undergraduate, registered for at least three credits at BSU during spring semester 2010, and have completed at least twelve BSU credits as an undergraduate prior to spring semester 2010.
  • Essays should be approximately 1,000 words long and absolutely no more than 1,200 words long. Please put a word count on the top of the first page beneath the title of your essay.
  • Your essay should not contain your name anywhere. Your name will appear only on the official entry form. Your essay should have a title, however, and that title should appear at top of each page. The title should be original and notable--not just "My BSU Moment."
  • Essays must be TYPED in a 12 pt. font, double-spaced, and have at least 1-inch margins all around.
  • Pages must be numbered.
  • An official entry form must accompany your essay. Official entry forms can also be found in the third floor reception area of Hagg-Sauer.
  • You may submit only one essay.
  • We do not accept electronic submissions or faxes. Submissions may be dropped off at the third floor reception area of Hagg-Sauer, or mailed to:
"My BSU Moment" Essay Contest
Bemidji State University, #23
1500 Birchmont Drive NE
Bemidji, MN 56601

  • The deadline for the contest is Monday, January 25. This is NOT a postmark deadline. We must have your essay in the third floor reception area of Hagg-Sauer no later than 4 p.m. on January 25, 2010.